FC: City of Battle Creek wants to imprison an anti-spam activist

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Thu Mar 21 2002 - 08:49:00 PST

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       Spam Showdown at Battle Creek
       By Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
       2:00 a.m. March 21, 2002 PST
       WASHINGTON -- The small city of Battle Creek, Michigan, wants to lock
       up an anti-spam activist who it believes crashed its mail server.
       Never mind that the town government was using a buggy version of the
       Lotus Domino e-mail server, and that newer releases have fixed the
       problem. And never mind that anti-spammers may have been conducting a
       routine scan for possible sources of bulk e-mail.
       Battle Creek, a town of 54,000 best known as the headquarters of the
       Kellogg's cereal company, is on the warpath.
       Robert Drewry, a Battle Creek detective, said on Wednesday he was
       hoping to file felony charges of computer intrusion against the person
       at the Orbz anti-spam service who contacted the Domino server, and
       caused e-mail to crash for 24 hours. "If we can identify the person
       responsible, yes, we will prosecute," Drewry said.
       This new Battle of Battle Creek -- the first one in 1824 pitted local
       Indians against surveyors -- began when an Orbz computer allegedly
       connected to the town's mail server to see if it might be an
       anti-spammer bugaboo: A relay point for bulk e-mailers.
       It wasn't. But it was running an old Lotus Domino version, and what
       would normally have been a routine test by Orbz allegedly caused the
       server to mail-bomb itself into a tizzy.
       Cindy Hale, a systems administrator for the town, said she was the one
       who had to deal with the crash.
       "We had to get with our Cisco expert and get into our firewall and
       make some changes in there and make some changes to our (Lotus) server
       to not accept any mail from Orbz," Hale said.
       Then Hale did what has incited a feeding frenzy this week in the
       online communities devoted to canning spam: She called the cops. "I
       just called our police department and asked if they wanted to
       investigate any further and there we are," Hale said.
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